Join Justin Reznick for an in-depth discussion in this video Lightroom panorama and HDR features, part of Landscape Photography with Lightroom and Photoshop.
- In a perfect world we'd be able to post process in one software application. And for some people, they're able to do it, whether it's Lightroom, or Photoshop, or another application. And I think that as new iterations come out for things like Lightroom we're getting closer and closer to that goal. Now, recently Lightroom introduced two new tools that I think are revolutionary. And a lot of times when you upgrade to the next update you try something out and go, oh that's cool, I'm glad, and I'm glad I tried it, and you forget about it.
Well, these two features I want to show you I use all the time and I love, and I really want to encourage you to check them out and make sure that you're taking advantage of the tool set. The first one is exposure blending in Lightroom. It used to be you had to go to Photoshop, Nik HDR Efex Pro 2, Photomatix, these are some software programs that would do it. But not only can we do it in Lightroom, this is what's special about it. We get to keep a RAW image. It's going to expose you blend and turn it into a DNG, which is Adobe's proprietary RAW format, so that we can still make RAW adjustments.
This is fantastic. It used to be any time you did it, you exported as a TIFF. So I'm going to show you how to do it, and we're going to do is shift click on these five images. This was taken in Colorado and these images are a stop apart. And what we're going to do is take the dark image and all the way through to the bright image and put those together. And it's very simple. It's under Photo, Photo Merge, HDR. I'm going to click on that. It's going to bring up a screen, and the defaults here I really like so I'm just going to simply hit the Merge button.
Now, it's going to give me a little bit of a preview. Generally the preview looks fine. I'm more concerned with the finished product so I kind of just want to get to the nitty gritty of it. Alright, so the preview is live here, and we're just going to leave it on the default settings. Auto Align is, again, aligning any movement you may have had. This was on a tripod but that's not to say, there's always little micro-movement, so that's good. Auto Tone, Deghosting High. If you had people in your shot moving it would be able to recognize that you had different elements in different shots. So just the default settings work great right here.
And I'm going to go ahead and hit Merge. And these are large Sony a7R II files, so it's time to hit merge, and go get a drink, and come back. And the render is done. Let's take a look at the image. Ok. It looks fantastic. Now, when I initially show this to people their first response is, oh it didn't work. And I go, well why do think it didn't work? And they say, well the image looks really flat. That's what you're going for. That's what you want, because all you're trying to do is to gather information from the sky from the very darkest image, this one here.
You're trying to get the land from the brighter image, this one here, and everything in between. And when we come to this, we see that we've captured that tonal range. And yes, it's flat, but does it look realistic? Not yet, but watch this. I'm going to go over to Develop. And we're not going to fully go through this, I just want to show you something real quick on how to bring it back to where you want it to be. And so, you can see how effective that was. Look at all these changes here that have been made automatically during that process. But if I pull the whites back to the left, you're going to see the sky start to come in a little bit more.
And if I take the shadows and I bring them back down, you're going to see the land start to come in a little bit more. And all of a sudden we're starting to build that contrast back in. Ok, so that's going to be a little bit closer to where we want to go. So if I hit the y key and you see a before and after, it's just you're starting to build more of that contrast. So the whole idea of exposure blending is to get information, and then once we get the information we can go in and fine-tune the adjustments. From tests that I've done comparing Lightroom to other software for exposure blending, I found that Lightroom does an excellent job and it maintains a RAW file for me to continue to work on.
I don't have to go to another application to do it. Alright, so next up I want to show you panoramas. And we're going to go back to the library module. I've got a folder set up with three shots, and I've got three shots with about a 30% overlap. This was taken in Iceland. Now all we're going to do is select all three, and we're going to go to Photo, Photo Merge, Panorama. Now what's really nice is it used to be if you made an adjustment to one of the images you had to synch all three images, edit them in RAW, and then take them to another program to put the panel together.
Now I could put the panel together and from there edit the RAW file because I'm maintaining that status. We're going to leave it on Auto Select, it's basically trying to figure out which is the best way to put it together in this very simple shot with a telephoto lens. So this is a very easy panel to put together, and I'm going to leave it on Auto Crop. What that's going to do is it's going to crop off some of the white parts of the image where it didn't quite align, which is going to be very natural. So having that on Auto Crop, it's really nice. If I take the auto crop off you can see those little white sections, so I might as well leave it on.
It's just a nice little additional feature that it includes. Let's hit Merge and see the final result. Alright, let's make it nice and large for us. And we have a seamless stitch. You couldn't as for anything more. And yeah, it's still in DNG right here, it's in that RAW format, Adobe's RAW. And I can go to the developed module and start to bring this image to life just to give it more contrast, brighten it up a little bit. You can get an idea of where this image is going. It is so smooth and efficient to stay in Lightroom in order to do the exposure blends and the panels.
It's made me quicker and more efficient, and I think it can definitely do the same for you. Alright, let's move on and look at some more features of Lightroom.
- Organizing images from a landscape shoot in Lightroom
- Creating panoramas and HDR composites
- Color correcting landscapes in Photoshop
- Masking adjustments
- Removing objects from photos with cloning
- Using Nik and Color Efex Pro plugins
- Start-to-finish image processing